Vancouver Canucks 4 at Pittsburgh Penguins 5 – 2023-01-10 recap

Another multi-goal lead blown, and another poor defensive effort in game two of this tough road trip.

Following this game, there were a number of superlatives discussed about this game based on the publicly available tracking metrics. I’m not going to sit here and say that it wasn’t as bad as the numbers show (team-worst numbers in terms of expected goals against, chances against, and high-danger chances against, and among the worst games of the season) but I can assure you that there are worse games, at least at 5v5 (this was a singularly bad PK game). I noticed a bit of weirdness with the shot count when I was tracking this game, and a lot of events didn’t line up on the play-by-play sheet.

Either way, this wasn’t very good. The Johns gave off the vibe midway through the first period as the Canucks were building their lead that the Canucks were lucky to have the lead, and they were correct. Blowing a three-goal lead to the Penguins, well, if any team was going to come back from multiple goals in the early and middle years of the 2010s, it would be Pittsburgh and its dynastic core. Well, this year’s Penguins team hasn’t been very good. They’re in danger of missing the playoffs and have been one of the worst offensive teams since American Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of chaff on the roster right now, most of them producing well-below what you’d expect out of an average fourth-line player.

So for the Canucks to come in and just give up a bunch of chances and goals to a Pittsburgh team that’s struggled to score is just another datapoint into this team’s defensive issues. We can scream about the roster not being good enough until we’re blue in the face and maybe hopefully, it will convince somebody, somewhere, to not lock in the key players to this team long term. They need to move bodies and get better and younger, or they’ll risk turning into a version of the Penguins that didn’t have any dynastic success to fall back on. Crosby and Malkin won three Cups, and the Canucks advanced to the second round of the playoffs in a weird pandemic bubble.

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